The Nashville Brass Play the Nashville Sound

Danny Davis & The Nashville Brass

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The Nashville Brass Play the Nashville Sound Review

by Lindsay Planer

The Nashville Brass became hugely successful for blending country and bluegrass standards with an updated attitude and a decidedly nontraditional arrangement for horns. While some purists initially balked, that did not stop Danny Davis, former head of A&R for RCA Victor Records. His concept paid off, as this LP sold into the 400,000 range within six months of release. Indeed, figures like that rivaled those from top country & western stars of the era. This appreciation may have been due, at least in part, to overlapping audiences. In addition to the built-in country & western crowd, there were also folks who otherwise wouldn't listen to country also giving the platter a spin. Although contemporary ears will probably find a majority of the reworkings more akin to easy listening, at the time this was considered a revolutionary advancement for the genre. Davis' luminous work with Waylon Jennings, Floyd Cramer, and Don Gibson made him a perfect candidate to pull this project off. Along with noted arranger Bill McElhiney -- best known for his trumpet solo on Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" -- the traditional country rhythm section of guitars, banjo, bass, piano, and drums was augmented with lead brass instrumentation that included trumpets, trombones, and the occasional fl├╝gelhorn. Few personnel specifics are given; however, according to the original long-player's rear jacket notes, John Hartford (banjo), Floyd Cramer (piano), Bobby Moore (bass), and the Jordanaires (backing vocals) are all contributors, accounting for the effort's thoroughly solid backing. While the actual musical scores are not too far off model, this novel approach lends itself well, much in the same way that Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass or Julius Wechter's Baja Marimba Band breathed new life and a fresh sensibility into pop. The perky and playful "The Middle of the Road" and the hoedown-happy "Mountain Dew" and "I Saw the Light" sit comfortably beside the languid and moody "I Fall to Pieces" and the plaintive "Let It Be Me." In 2004 Collectors' Choice Music issued this album on CD, making it available in the digital domain.

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